Manchester City travel to London to the banks of the River Thames looking for their first win in four matches and first away victory in all competitions this season after a stuttering run of form that has seen them drop points to Stoke and Arsenal in the Premier League, collapse late on at the Bernabeu in the Champions League and in midweek, dumped out of the cup at home by Aston Villa. The defending champions remain unbeaten however and despite Mancini’s concerns, the City fans remain hopeful on the season ahead.
Mancini has the luxury of being able to call upon Samir Nasri, who has missed the last two matches with a hamstring problem picked up against Real Madrid, while Sergio Aguero is now fully fit after making his return from a knee injury against Arsenal last week.
Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli, who got off the mark for the season in the League Cup, are both pushing to start alongside Aguero. Elsewhere, Jack Rodwell is missing with a groin injury, along with Micah Richards despite the full back returning to full training after ankle trouble.
Fulham have been a side revitalised since their 3-0 drubbing at West Ham and that is in no uncertain terms down to the deadline day signing of Dimitar Berbatov from Manchester United. Berbatov has been simply outstanding as the Cottagers have swept aside both West Brom and importantly for the side’s confidence, away at Wigan to briefly put them in the Champions League places at one stage. Martin Jol’s team are always strong at home and having held City to a 2-2 draw in this fixture last season, will hold no fears for the visit of the champions.
Martin Jol has no new injury worries but Philippe Senderos and Mahamadou Diarra look set to remain absent. Bryan Ruiz is pushing for a start after making his return from injury at Wigan last week while Hugo Rodallega will expect to keep his place after opening account for the Cottagers against his former club.